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Tuesday Rockpile: Rockies Sign Tyler Anderson, No One Else

Carl Thomore will be a big part of how this draft class will be judged.
Carl Thomore will be a big part of how this draft class will be judged.

In a surprise to no one, the Colorado Rockies signed 1st round and 20th overall pick Tyler Anderson yesterday, right at the deadline. The left-handed starter adds to a suddenly booming mid-to-upper level stable of rotation arms in the system, joining Drew Pomeranz (tomorrow), Alex White, Chad Bettis, Edwar Cabrera and Christian Friedrich.

Despite having little leverage on the Rockies due to being a college junior, Anderson took the Rockies right up to the deadline, just to agree to a near-slot signing bonus of $1.4million. Unfortunately, the two months wasted means Anderson could not jump on the accelerated path as Christian Friedrich did four years ago. Anderson is a nice high floor pick who should rise to the majors and contribute quickly, but that journey won't start until 2012 now.

Perhaps the bigger story at the deadline than Anderson's signing was that Colorado failed to sign any of their remaining 23 picks. Half of those were late round flyers that weren't going to sign, but the Rockies missed big when they failed to sign 3rd-round pick Peter O'Brien. Colorado hasn't lost a pick that high due to not signing the player since 2002, when they selected high school pitcher Micah Owings in the second round....right after Jeff Francis.

For an organization that just traded the best pitcher in franchise history due in large part to poor drafts, missing on a third rounder from the get-go hurts. Colorado had what appear to be very strong drafts in 2009 and 2010, but frankly, this one isn't shaping up so well.

With the saved money from Ubaldo Jimenez' salary (~$900k) and the added money in the budget from missing on O'Brien, one would figure the Rockies would have the funds to throw at a difficult sign, a late round talent that slipped due to signability/contract demands. The Rockies do that often (Dexter Fowler, Tyler Massey, Delta Cleary, Will Swanner), and there were several possibilities left yesterday that could have brought more legitimate talent into the farm.

Texas A&M RHP Thomas Stripling (9th round), California HS C David Schukneckt (12th round), University of Florida 1B/OF Preston Tucker (16th round) and Texas HS RHP John Curtiss (30th round) all would have made sense, though all four are taking their talents elsewhere. Stripling and Curtiss seemed to make their decisions early, and Tucker cut off negotiations early yesterday. So either the Rockies didn't step up to lure these men, or their pre-draft research led them to draft players they had no chance in signing. I'm not sure which would be worse.

Instead, this draft class will be heavily reliant on three high round high school position players, Texas HS SS Trevor Story (sandwich round), New Jersey HS OF Carl Thomore (2nd round) and Texas HS OF Dillon Thomas (4th round). Anderson, Story and perhaps Thomore will make this fall's PuRPs list. Compare that to last season's draft class, which saw Kyle Parker, Peter Tago, Chad Bettis, Josh Slaats, Corey Dickerson, and Will Swanner join the top 30, with Josh Rutledge just missing.

Not every draft can be a big splash, and there is certainly no way to know if the class will look this way in four years. But right now, I'm disenchanted. Story is a great pick and Anderson will contribute. There are some good players, but as Colorado failed to aggressively fill the farm, I just cannot be happy with how the chips fell yesterday. I'm not sure the Rockies are either.

Off Topic

Ten days after injury, a smiling Juan Nicasio visits relieved Colorado Rockies teammates at Coors Field - The Denver Post There is still no way to know if Nicasio will pitch again in the major leagues, let alone effectively, but so far, Nicasio's recovery from a broken neck has been leaps and bounds better at every turn than anyone dared speculate.

Rockies third-base coach hit by throw during pre-game drill - MLB - Sporting News Rich Dauer suffered a broken nose due to an errant throw by Chris Nelson in St. Louis, but recovered enough to be back on the field last night. Dauer joins Nicasio as two Rockies who suffered freak injuries on the field due to being struck by a ball on the head. For those who fear all things come in threes, perhaps the third already happened. I received an email from Martin Kandilas, father of Casper Ghosts center fielder David Kandilas, who informed me that Casper's first base coach John Stone had suffered a freak injury during batting practice when being struck in the face with a batted ball. Consequently, a player was acting as first base coach when Kandilas lost his grand slam and cycle due to bypassing a baserunner on his home run trot last Thursday.

UPDATE: Mets, Nimmo agree to $2.1M deal  The Cheyenne native did indeed sign with the New York Mets, as every first round pick reached terms with their teams this season with an exception of Toronto's pick, RHP Tyler Beede.

Wheeler, Paulsen, Gomez, Bettis, Arenado and Cabrera cited by Baseball America | Inside the Colorado Rockies Baseball America polled the coaches in the minor leagues for the best tools at every position in every league. Most interesting on this list is Nolan Arenado, "Best Defensive Third Baseman in the California League." Any accolades Arenado has racked up defensively have been met with skepticism due draft-day (and later) scouting reports, but the more that pile up, the more realistic it seems Arenado has put himself on the path of sticking at third base. That's quite smart of him - if the third base market stays at its current level, Arenado will be quite the garnet among the granite.


Lastly, the Casper Star-Tribune has been running a long series called "From Casper to Coors," which chronicles the experiences of current Rockies Jhoulys Chacin, Eric Young Jr., Seth Smith and Chris Nelson at rookie level Casper, among other things. I highly encourage you to read.